Women and the Legitimation of the Use of Force: The Case of Female Military Service

  • Lorenza Sebesta

Abstract

The purpose of this essay is that of analysing the relationship existing between women and the armed forces within the wider context of the question of the legitimacy of the use of force by the state.

Keywords

Europe Cage Coherence Baran Arena 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    It is the title of a paragraph of the volume by E. A. Cohen, Citizens and Soldiers: The Dilemmas of Military Service (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1985) pp. 25–41.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    For the production of essays up to the 1980s reference is made to the bibliographical essay in N. L. Goldman (ed.) Female Soldiers: Combatants or Noncombatants? (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1982) pp. 291–5. A considerable increase of literature in this field has been registered in these last ten years, as can be seen from the bibliography presented at the end of this volume.Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    Among all the contributions that have recently appeared, two worth noting that have already become classics in the memorialistic vein are: S. Saywell, Women in War (New York: Viking, 1985)Google Scholar
  4. 2.
    and G. Braybon and P. Summerfield (eds), Out of the Cage, Women’s Experiences in Two World Wars (London: Pandora, 1987);Google Scholar
  5. 2.
    with regard to the female experience in the armed forces of the United States, Australia, Canada and Great Britain, see for example, D. Segal and W. Sinaiko (eds) Life in the Rank and File: Enlisted Men and Women in the Armed Forces of USA, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom (Washington: Pergamon-Brasseys International Defense Publishers, 1985).Google Scholar
  6. 3.
    One must stress that some wartime chronicles are not concerned with experiences of support (direct or indirect) to the armed forces but with those ‘suffered’ by women as victims of war long before and much more than as collaborators of the armed forces; specifically for the Italian case see the book by M. Mafai, Pane nero. Donne e vita quotidiana nella seconda guerra mondiale (Milan: Mondadori, 1987). The emergence of this kind of war experience — which it is impossible to discuss here — is tied above all to the progressive erosion of the inviolability of the internal front. This inviolability, traditionally mined by guerrilla tactics, has suffered a concentrated attack since the First World War especially due to the development of bombing by aviation as a tactical means of support to terrestrial and maritime operations (First World War) and as a central support of the strategic offensive action against urban centres (Second World War).Google Scholar
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    A. Bravo, Introduzione, in A. Bravo (ed.) Donne e uomini nelle guerre mondiali (Rome-Bari: Laterza, 1991) p. xxi.Google Scholar
  8. 5.
    For all, see A. Marwick, War and Social Change in the Twentieth Century (London: Macmillan, 1974).Google Scholar
  9. 6.
    P. Summerfield, Women Workers in the Second World War: Production and Patriarchy in Conflict (London: Croom Helm, 1984);Google Scholar
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    H. L. Smith (ed.) War and Social Change: British Society in the Second World War (Manchester University Press, 1986).Google Scholar
  11. 8.
    M. R. Higonnet, ‘Introduction’, in W. R. Higonnet, J. Jenson, S. Michel and M. C. Weitz (eds) Behind the Lines: Gender and the Two World Wars (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987) pp. 1–17;Google Scholar
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    for an anthology of essays that adopt this more problematical point of view see A. Marwick (ed.) Total War and Social Change (New York: St Martin’s Press, 1988).Google Scholar
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    J. Stiehm, ‘The Effect of Myths about Military Women on the Waging of War’, in E. Isaksson (ed.) Women and the Military System (London: Wheatsheaf, 1988) p. 104;Google Scholar
  14. 9.
    see also N. Huston, ‘The Matrix of War: Mothers and Heroes’, in S. R. Suleiman (ed.) The Female Body in Western Culture (Cambridge Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1985) pp. 119–35.Google Scholar
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  16. 11.
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  17. 12.
    K. Dunvin, ‘Gender and Perceptions of the Job Environment in the US Air Force’, Armed Forces and Society, 1 (1988) pp. 71–91, especially pp. 80–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    L. B. De Fleur and R. L. Warner, ‘Air Force Academy Graduates and Non-graduates: Attitudes and Self-Concepts’, Armed Forces and Society, 4 (1987) pp. 517–33;Google Scholar
  19. 13.
    C. L. Williams, Gender Differences at Work: Women and Men in Nontraditional Occupations (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989).Google Scholar
  20. 14.
    J. Elshtain Bethke, Women and War (New York: Basic Books, 1987) pp. 49–56.Google Scholar
  21. 15.
    M. Janovitz, Military Conflict (Beverly Hills: Sage, 1975) pp. 77–8.Google Scholar
  22. 16.
    C. Enloe, Ethnic Soldiers (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1980); also see her essay in the present volume.Google Scholar
  23. 17.
    J. H. Stiehm, ‘The Protected, the Protector, the Defender’, in Women’s Studies International Forum, special issue on Women and Men’s Wars, 3–4 (1982) p. 10; this refusal seems to have originated with the formulation of the question by Virginia Woolf, whose hostility to pacifism during the period preceding the Second World War was intimately tied to criticism with regard to the exclusion of women from military service (which made pacifism for women become a necessity rather than a choice). For Virginia Woolf this presumption did not come so much from the need to accede to the military system but rather from the need to found a society of women ‘without a country’ based on the refusal a priori of both war and peace, anchored to the strong call for universal citizenship, freed from particular obligations towards a state.Google Scholar
  24. 17.
    V. Woolf, Three Guineas (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1938) p. 109; see also S. Gilbert, ‘Soldier’s Heart: Literary Men Literary Women, and the Great War’, in Higonnet, Jenson, Michel, and Weitz (eds) Behind the Lines, pp. 220–1.Google Scholar
  25. 18.
    C. H. Enloe, Does Khaki Become You? (Boston: South End Press, 1983) p. 15.Google Scholar
  26. 20.
    The classical reference for this interpretation is L. Tiger, Men in Groups (New York: Random House, 1969) especially pp. 84–5.Google Scholar
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    M. C. Devilbiss, ‘Gender Integration and Unit Deployment: A Study of GI Jo’, Armed Forces and Society, 4 (1985) pp. 523–52, especially pp. 528–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 22.
    See, for example, the beginning of the essay already quoted: Stiehm, ‘The Protected, the Protector, the Defender’, in Women’s Studies International Forum, p. 367; by the same author, see also the ‘Introduction’ to J. H. Stiehm, Arms and the Enlisted Woman (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1989) especially pp. 1–4.Google Scholar
  29. 23.
    F. Goodman, article in the Washington Post, 1 November 1983; on the question of the debatable relationship between women, pacifism and military studies, see J. Elshtain Bethke and S. Tobias (eds) Women, Militarism and the War: Essays in History, Politics and Social Theory (Savage: Rowman and Littlefield, 1990).Google Scholar
  30. 24.
    M. Howard, ‘Temperamenta Belli: Can War be Controlled?’, in M. Howard (ed.) Restraints on War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990) p. 1.Google Scholar
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    I. Clark, Waging War: A Philosophical Introduction (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990) p. 11.Google Scholar
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    C. Schmitt, Theorie des Partisanen: Zwischenbemerkung zum Begriff des Politischen (Berlin: Duncker & Humblot 1975).Google Scholar
  33. 28.
    P. Bonetti, ‘Il dibattito sulla condizione militare in un anno difficile’, Il Mulino, 1 (1987) pp. 116–29.Google Scholar
  34. 29.
    W. B. Gallie, Philosophers of Peace and War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978) p. 75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 30.
    See R. Aron, La société industrielle et la guerre (Paris: Plon, 1959) pp. 5–17;Google Scholar
  36. 30.
    F. Ferrarotti, Introduzione, in F. Ferrarotti (ed.) Comte. Antologia di scritti sociologici (Bologna: Il Mulino, 1977) pp. 10–11.Google Scholar
  37. 31.
    See, for example, the chapter ‘Absorption of Surplus: Militarism and Imperialism’ in P. Baran and P. Sweezy, Monopoly Capital (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1975) (1st edn 1966) pp. 178–214, and for critical evaluation that has the merit of being clear and synthetic, Aron, La société industrielle et la guerre pp. 30–9.Google Scholar
  38. 33.
    S. Hoffman, ‘The Acceptability of Military Force’, Adelphi Paper, 102, Force in Modern Societies: Its Place in International Politics (London: ISS, 1973) p. 6.Google Scholar
  39. 38.
    Cit. in U. Capuzzo, ‘Tra focolare e campo di Marte: la donna nella realtà militare dei tempi’, Rivista Militare, 6 (1982) p. 2; the observations on aggressiveness done on groups of chimpanzees by Frans de Waal tend to demonstrate the biological rather than cultural character of the inclination of male chimpanzees to the vertical hierarchical form (that presumes an inclination to obedience);Google Scholar
  40. 38.
    F. de Waal, Sex Differences in the Stability of Friendship and Rivalries among Chimpanzees, talk given at the X ISRA convention (International Society for Research on Aggression) Siena, 6–12 November 1992.Google Scholar
  41. 40.
    C. Moskos, ‘The American Enlisted Man in the All-Volunteer Army’, in D. Segal and W. Sinaiko (eds) Life in the Rank and File (Washington: Pergamon—Brassey’s, 1985); also see the essay by Elisabetta Addis in this volume.Google Scholar
  42. 46.
    C. Tilly, Coercion, Capital, and European States, AD 990–1990 (Cambridge: Basil Blackwell, 1990) p. 225.Google Scholar
  43. 49.
    See G. Pasquino, Elementi per un controllo politico sulle forte armate (Bologna: Il Mulino, 1975).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1994

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  • Lorenza Sebesta

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